What do underarm lymph nodes do? Why do they swell up? And how do you know if the swelling is simply an infection – or might be cancer?
You're taking a shower, soaping up. And suddenly, underneath your arm, your fingers detect a painful, tender lump – one that wasn't there yesterday. Your mind starts to race: "Do I need to worry about this? Could it be an infected lymph node, even though I haven't felt sick? Could it be… cancer?"
What is the lymphatic system?
Your body's lymphatic system, made up of a series of small vessels, carries a clear liquid – lymph – from your body tissues to the heart. In the heart, lymph joins blood and is pumped via arteries back to the tissues. This efficient system helps drain excess liquid from tissues, and transports infection-fighting white blood cells to where they're needed.
What are lymph nodes?
Scattered along these small lymphatic vessels are up to 700 lymph nodes. These small (think...
My name is Cathee and I am currently 35 yrs old. I was diagnosed
with Rheumatoid Arthritis when I was 27. My introduction to RA was
rather quick. In fact, I had actually never heard of RA when I went
to see my doctor about a swollen knuckle. My finger had been
swollen for about 2 months and as I was reading through a magazine
I found an article about lyme disease. Since I spent a lot of time
hiking in the woods with my dog, I began to think I might have
contracted lyme disease from a tick. I went to my family physician
and luckily she had an instinct about what was going on with me and
sent me to see a Rheumatologist. The Rheumatologist immediately
ordered blood work and I was officially diagnosed with RA in March
of 1997. I didnt have any other symptoms at the time except
for the one swollen joint until August 1997. Literally overnight, I
became almost bed ridden. It was if I went to sleep as one person
and woke up another.
Since that fateful night, I have battled this crippli...
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